The NAMI Illinois Alliance of Peer Professionals promotes the development and advancement of peer professionals and peer based services in Illinois.
The NAMI Illinois Alliance of Peer Professionals acts as a link between individuals receiving services, mental health providers, policy makers and peer professionals. It provides an opportunity for certified peer professionals working in the mental health field to advocate for the growth and development of peer-based services. The alliance strives to contribute to advancing the field of peer practitioners by communicating the needs and opinions of the group to those that create the training process, professional standards and ethical practices. Members support and mentor potential peer professionals, seek continuing education to improve the quality of services and promote the value of peer professionals as a part of individual treatment plans.
“It is one of the beautiful compensations in this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
As a peer professional I often have to remind myself that if I am not taking care of myself it is impossible to be effective at helping others. For my personal mental health, I have many supporters and rely on friends, family, doctors and support groups, but sometimes I forget to address how healthy I am in my profession. Sure, I attend webinars, read books and go to conferences in an attempt to stay up to date on how to do my job, but I do not believe that is all it takes to achieve professional wellness. Over the years, I have found great value in forging professional relationships, listening to the opinions of others and using that information to advocate for change when needed.
“Larry Davidson, Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, tracks thebeginnings of peer supportto a psychiatric hospital in late 18th century France.The governor of Bicêtre Hospital in Paris, Jean Baptiste Pussin, recognized the val-ue of employing recovered patients as hospital staff.” See peersforprogress.org/pfp_blog/a-brief-history-of-peer-support-origins/. This trend of using “recovered patients” as part of the healing process continued to develop over the years. Today research shows the value of peer pro-fessionals and the career field is growing. Unfor-tunately, many of the individuals working in the field are underpaid and overworked.
In the summer of 2019, I heard that NAMI Illinois was supporting the creation of a group to address the needs of peer professionals and immediately wanted to be involved. I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing people to develop the NAMI IL Alliance of Peer Professionals. Over the last year, we did everything from developing bylaws to building a website and now we hope you will join us in our mission to support, learn from and advocate for each other and our profession.
I want to say thank you to NAMI and John Fallon for recognizing this need and investing in the future of peer professionals and to the NAMI IL Association of Peer Professionals leadership team for building a foundation for this group.
To those of you working in the field or pursuing certification, this is yourorganization and I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.
With Great Respect,